Tiny keyboard/touchpad has “hack” written all over it

Yes, we know, this is not a hack, yet it just has the vibe of something we’ll likely be seeing in many small form-factor systems and wearable hacks in the future.

The USB Wireless Handheld Keyboard is a diminutive keyboard and mouse replacement with a passing resemblance to a BlackBerry PDA — where the screen has been replaced with a laptop-style trackpad sensor. This seems a shoo-in for home theater PC use; it’s unobtrusive and won’t look out of place on the coffee table alongside the universal remote. But any tiny system requiring only occasional input could likely benefit.

The keyboard layout is funky as heck, though likely adequate for its intended use of couch web-surfing and interactive messaging (or whatever wild applications our readers will surely come up with). A USB wireless receiver and a charging cable are included in the $62 package. Video after the break…

[USB Geek via Engadget]

[Read more...]

Coaster Controlled HTPC

RFID

These days, HTPCs are becoming more and more common, however controlling the content elegantly can be a painfully annoying problem. Roteno Labs have come up with a wonderful solution they call the RFiDJ. Similar to the RFID phone we covered earlier, they used a set of picture frame coasters and mounted descriptive pictures as well as unique RFID tags in each one. When a coaster is placed in the sensor area the server begins streaming that particular selection, including local news, This Week in Tech podcast, and other specific albums. Roteno Labs even managed to include a “shuffle” tag which would play content randomly out of a library. The end result is very well put together, excellently documented, and there is even a working video after the break.

[Read more...]

Mac Mini – getting a little more useful

IMG_7559

We’re pretty sure Apple decided to implement an IR sensor in their Mac Mini line simply to mock the user. For those who are unaware, the built in sensor only works with the standard Apple Remote; unless you happen to have a programmable PDA or similar you’re SOL. An alternative solution would be to install a USB IR receiver. But then your beautiful Mac Mini is forced to sit alongside an ugly black box. Why not have the best of both worlds? [SqueeZe] wrote an (almost) entirely non invasive tutorial for placing a USB IR receiver inside his Mac Mini. Reminds us of a certain hack a while back, but the objective was to get the IR receiver outside of the unit rather than inside. Different people, different worlds.

[Thanks Kiran]

High explosives PC case

ammo_casemod

[Ilias] let us know about his new HTPC case mod.  He took a surplus Ammo-case and with a bit of work turned it into a livingroom eye-sore masterpiece. His build has some nice touches, including a slot-fed DVD player, switch-based fan control, and key-and-button “nuclear launch” type power-on controls.

A few things to learn from this project: Cleanly cutting holes in a steel case for the connectors is tough.  You can see that [Ilias] did a pretty good job with it and in several cases used rubber gaskets to cover the rough edges. Secondly, the slot fed DVD had to be mounted upside-down.  We assume this will be fine, but we’d like to hear a follow-up after a few years of heavy use. Finally, the GFAF (girlfriend acceptance factor) ran very close to critical on this build as [Ilias] didn’t clean up the metal shavings on his porch and ended up with rust stains everywhere.

Case mods are an enjoyable hobby. We hope this will inspire you to take the leap.  If you do, don’t forget to send your completed project into our tip line.

Add IR control to your WiFi router

wrt54g_ir_receiver

[Craig] wanted to use Boxee on his TV but his computer was in a different room. He rigged up a rather dubious method of delivering the A/V signal (this is a hack in the most guttural sense). More interesting to us is his solution for a remote control interface. We’re familiar with building USB connected infrared receivers but [Craig] decided to patch one into the serial connection on his Linksys WRT54G router. [Read more...]

HTPC inside a cellular phone

htpc_carphone

Reader [Jani] always wanted to throw a PC into an old school cell phone. He based this around the extremely small Commell LS-371 motherboard which measures just 146×101 mm (~5.9×4 in). He found room behind an existing access door for a DVI connector and audio in/out.  He even incorporated an OLED screen, secondary sound card for “speakerphone”, and a WiFi connector into the handset. Things start to get interesting when he decided the SSD was too large and needed to be removed from its case. The one thing that seems to be missing here is an IR receiver for a remote but since he plans on running XBMC, he may already be setup to use another option such as an iPhone to act as a remote interface.

How-to: Windows Media Center on a Leopard network

We’ve been using Microsoft’s Media Center for a few years now and have grown to like it a lot. We’ve also noticed that more and more Apple computers have shown up on our home network and decided it was time to get everything working together smoothly. Follow along as we walk you through the hoops we jumped through to get everything cooperating. [Read more...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 92,416 other followers